Trends Reshaping The Legal Industry
Domestic law firms are expanding across borders, collaborating with foreign counsel and forming intercontinental mergers, erasing traditional boundaries on the geographic scope of law practice. Although globalization is not new, it is gaining momentum due to the growth of the Internet, the automation of legal processes, developments in data security and emerging technology tools. as law firms continue to expand their footprint worldwide, globalization will continue to reshape the landscape of the legal industry in the coming years.
- Alternative Legal Service Providers
Lawyers no longer have a monopoly on the law. The legal marketplace is changing and clients can seek legal assistance from a growing number of non-lawyer professionals including paralegal technicians, legal document preparers, legal self help sites, virtual assistance and offshore legal vendors.
- Virtual Law Firms
Powerful mobile devices, software as-a-service, and secure, web-based technology allow legal professionals to work from virtually anywhere. As a result, more legal professionals are working remotely from home or a virtual law office. Virtual law office provide an alternative method of practicing law that permit flexible work hours and foster a better work/life balance for legal professionals.
- Legal Process Outsourcing
In recent years, the legal industry has experienced a global paradigm shift in the delivery model for legal services. This new model, known as legal process outsourcing (LPO), transfers the work of attorneys, paralegals, and other legal professionals to external vendors located domestically and overseas. Legal outsourcing, both onshore and offshore, is transforming law practice as law firms and corporate legal departments seek to minimize costs, increase flexibility and expand their in-house capabilities.
Benefits of New Legal Trends
- Cost Savings
Organizations can reduce their cost structures through labor arbitrage – the wage differential between in-house legal personnel and outside vendors – to reap tremendous cost benefits to both lawyer and client.
- Access To External Talent
Outsourcing legal work to external vendors allows organizations to access high level talent and niche expertise that does not exist within the firm. For example, coding and document review. Access to external talent is particularly useful for small boutique firms to fill in gaps in internal competencies.
- Reduced Turnaround Time
The use of external personnel can explain internal bandwidth to reduce turnaround time for pressing legal projects. The use of a combination of onshore and offshore teams can also allow organizations to complete a project in a shorter time frame.
Employing a combination of in-house and external talent allows law firms and organizations to tailor their capabilities in response to workload and client demands. Workflow challenges are particularly prevalent for small and mid-size firms. These firms may find it more difficult to spread variability due to a smaller number of attorneys, support staff and clients.